Many believe the proposed Iranian HESA Qaher-313 stealth fighter to be nothing more than military theatrics for political purposes.
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The Iranian government and military are billing their Qaher-313 ("Conqueror") (also "F-313" or "Q-313") as the first stealth fighter aircraft of Iranian origin. Its manufacture is being handled by Aviation Industries Organization (AIO) which oversees work conducted by the firms of GHODS, HESA, PANHA, SAHA, and the Shahid Basir Industry. Unlike other Iranian military industry attempts, which are largely modified copies of existing American or Soviet/Chinese products, the F-313 is said to be a wholly indigenous Iranian attempt - from structure, avionics, cockpit, and engines. Due to the perceived limitations of the Iranian military-industrial complex, very few actually believe in the viability of the F-313 as presented in February of 2013. To further its growing legend, the aircraft has not been publically flown as of early 2015 with the only release photography being the aircraft on display or in ground transit. Iran has admitted to flying a small, radio-controlled version of the aircraft for testing.
Claims tied to this stealth fighter include proven stealth characteristics seen in other 5th Generation Aircraft - faceted body panels covered in advanced coatings, a low radar signature radar presentation, and internal weapons bays. It is said to be something of a multirole performer able to undertake both air-to-air sorties and ground attack missions. As such, it is cleared to field a variety of Iranian air-to-air missiles as well as precision-guided bombs (up to 2 x 1,000 lb being the estimated rating).
Externally, the Qaher-313 exhibits a rather stylish shape with its sharply angled surfaces more reminiscent of the 1980s Lockheed F-117 "Nighthawk" stealth fighter than the Lockheed F-22 "Raptor" or Russian Sukhoi "PAK-FA" 5th Gen Fighters. Its wing mainplanes are set well-aft along the fuselage sides with its tips being positioned downward. Canard planes are fitted forward of the mainplanes and aft of the intakes - which themselves are of a smallish, low profile design and sit to either side of the cockpit. The pilot sits under a large-area, bubble-style canopy for excellent vision - though there does not appear to be any special coatings applied to the glass. The empennage is made up of two outward canted vertical fins straddling the single engine installation within the fuselage. The undercarriage is a conventional tricycle arrangement utilizing two main legs and a nose leg - all single-wheeled. The engine exhaust port appears to be shielded by the fuselage structure to an extent yet circular in its general design shape - not of a flat, rectangular profile as in the F-22.
Despite the claims made by the Iranian government, there are many who doubt the capabilities of this "fighter-in-progress". Sources claim the aircraft does not rely on Fly-By-Wire (FBW) for assisted controlling as it showcases enhanced inherent stability from the overall arrangement. The "glass" cockpit showcased in released imagery is said to include a collection of off-the-shelf civilian aviation products like GPS , the instrument panel itself something more akin to that as found on a small modern Cessna turboprop or similar aircraft. Others have noted the compact dimensions of the aircraft which make it unlike even the most compact of modern 4th Generation Fighters - considerable internal space is required for avionics, fuel, engine, components, and weapons bays.
To stem the criticism, Iranian officials have claimed that the presented aircraft is representative of the actual product in-development and not the true finalized form. Iranian aviation has had some experience in bringing about other aircraft though these have been locally-modified versions of American helicopters and jet aircraft - the Iranians purchased several major American products prior to the fall of the Shah - Bell AH-1 SuperCobra attack helicopters, Grumman F-14 Tomcats, McDonnell F-4 Phantom IIs, and Northrop F-5 Tigers. The Iranians have repurposed the SuperCobra as the PANHA "Toufan" while the F-5 Tiger has become the HESA "Saeqeh" - both believed to be in limited service today (2015).
Only time and publicized program progress will prove one party correct over the other.
March 2017 - Iranian leaders announced that the Qaher-313 prototype was ready for flight testing.
April 2017 - The Qaher-313 was filmed during ground-testing and showcasing a few design changes from the original proposed static model.
[ 1 Units ] : Iran Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO) / Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (HESA) - Iran
- X-Plane / Developmental
50.85 ft (15.5 m)
26.25 ft (8 m)
13.39 ft (4.08 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the HESA F-313 Qaher (Conqueror) production model)
9,700 lb (4,400 kg)
19,842 lb (9,000 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the HESA F-313 Qaher (Conqueror) production model)
1 x Turbofan engine. Performance specifications below are estimates.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the HESA F-313 Qaher (Conqueror) production model)
932 mph (1,500 kph; 810 kts)
49,213 feet (15,000 m; 9.32 miles)
1,243 miles (2,000 km; 1,080 nm)
25,000 ft/min (7,620 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the HESA F-313 Qaher (Conqueror) production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
2 x 1,000 lb conventional drop bombs OR 6 x Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs).
(Showcased armament details pertain to the HESA F-313 Qaher (Conqueror) production model)
Qaher-313 - Base Series Designation
F-313 - Alternative designation
Conqueror-313 (Tamer) - Alternative Designation
Q-313 - Alternative designation
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